Jamaica and Eleuthera in the Bahamas took home top awards, while Bonaire, St. Maarten and St. Lucia were recognized with honorable mentions.
The second annual awards recognize the extent to which public-private sector partnerships have driven the successful recovery of tourism in the region.
Announcing the winners during the second annual Caribbean Travel Forum, held at Sandals Royal Barbados, Vanessa Ledesma, CHTA Interim CEO and CEO, said this year's presentations “all exemplify a high level of collaboration from the stakeholders, something we wanted to promote. ”
The awards, presented by CHTA in collaboration with the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), were conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic and aim to recognize destinations with a deliberate focus on resilience and sustainability.
The judges assessed destinations' commitment to address some or all of the World Tourism Organization's sustainable development goals , recognizing destinations that subscribe to a collaborative approach and engage public and private sector stakeholders in innovative strategies based in the needs. The awards recognize efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and the broader challenges affecting sustainable development.
A panel of tourism experts chose the winners based on the following criteria:
Association and collaboration commitments
Sustainable/resilience-related activities carried out
innovation and technology
External links and participation (i.e. other sectors, community)
Contribution of the initiative(s) to tourism
Jamaica emerged as the winner in Category A, reserved for destinations with 2019 total stopover visitor arrivals greater than 500,000. Initiatives such as the JAMAICA CARES programme, a public-private partnership, took a holistic approach to resuming travel after the pandemic and successfully positioned Jamaica at the forefront of international tourism recovery.
“It was no easy feat to reopen our borders in such a short time, and this award highlights the importance of partnerships in a crisis,” said Jamaica Director of Tourism Donovan White. “We are truly grateful and deeply honored to receive this distinction,” he added.
Robin Russell, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association, said: "Our partnership with the public sector was truly momentous and enabled us to forge a strategy that led to an unprecedented recovery."
In Category B, Eleuthera in the Bahamas was victorious for destinations with total scale arrivals less than 500,000. Eleuthera has demonstrated a commitment to a more sustainable future with efforts like the Island School, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Eleuthera Sustainability Council Cooperative Society, and Center for Training Institute.
“I am pleased to see the efforts to promote sustainability in the Bahamas and, in particular, Eleuthera, recognized by the Caribbean community and awarded the Destination Resiliency Award,” said Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism in the Bahamas.
About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the leading association in the Caribbean representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 60 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the future of the Caribbean and helping members grow their businesses. Whether helping navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, regulatory issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence, or finding ways and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on the issues that matter most.